2020i5, Tuesday: Lifting the shell.

Again, it’s a busy week. So two quick hits: a potential AML game-changer, and catnip for Apple geeks.

Short thought: Those who are calling it “groundbreaking” aren’t wrong. One of the more frustrating loopholes (and when I say “loophole” I mean “something the radius of the Channel Tunnel”) in the global anti-money laundering and counter-fraud architecture has long been the ease with which anyone can set up anonymous shell companies in the US.

Congress’s override of Trump’s veto on the US defence bill in the waning days of last year – he’d blocked it ostensibly because it didn’t have anything tacked on to deal with Section 230, the bit of US statute which gives social media services some immunity for website publishers from liability for third party content – also allowed through the Corporate Transparency Act. This, agreed after years of campaigning, makes it mandatory for anyone registering a new company anywhere in the US to disclose the name, address and date of birth of its beneficial (i.e. human) owners, as well as an ID number such as driver’s licence or passport; and for existing companies to produce this info within two years.

No time for in-depth analysis, and obviously the proof is in the pudding – and (thinking of the widespread and largely unpunished abuse of Companies House requirements in the UK) in the enforcement. But campaigners and writers aren’t wrong to call this “the most sweeping counter-kleptocracy reforms in decades” aren’t wrong. Big news.


Someone is right on the internet: For long-term Macheads like me (I’ve owned precisely two Windows devices – a Surface which I resold and a cheap Windows Phone just so I’d know what it was like – and two Androids, a Nexus 4 and a bargain Nokia I’ve since given to a relative, against several dozen Apple devices between me and the missus), Jason Snell’s series on 20 seminal Macs has been a joy. As he’s explained, it’s not necessarily the best machines, but the most notable. And the utterly deserved winner is the iMac G3, the machine that set Apple on the road from mess to megacorp. The whole series is pure comfort food for Apple nerds. Perfect for a New Year’s Day kickback and relax.

(I never owned an iMac G3, although I had one on loan from a client for a while. My personal fave on the list was also the first Mac I ever bought, the PowerBook Duo. I still have one in the house. Time, perhaps, to see if it still boots. Although if it doesn’t, as we found was the case with the – jawdroppingly-beautiful, even 20 years on – family Pismo the other day, it’ll hurt…)


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